Monday, 22 September 2014

Seals at Copeland Island

When I visit the Copeland Island, I always see Seals, usually both Common and Grey seals. These are photographs I took in June and I will give you some information about them so that you can distinguish one species from the other.

Common or Harbour seals are brown, tan, or gray, with distinctive V-shaped nostrils and has more of a pug nose. An adult can attain a length of 6.1 ft and a mass of 290 lb. Blubber under the seal's skin helps to maintain body temperature. Females outlive males (30–35 years versus 20–25 years).

Common seals stick to familiar resting spots or haulout sites, generally rocky areas (although ice, sand and mud may also be used) where they are protected from adverse weather conditions and predation, near a foraging area.

Males may fight over mates underwater and on land. Females bear a single pup after a nine month gestation, which they care for alone.

Pups can weigh up to 35 lb and are able to swim and dive within hours of birth. They develop quickly on their mothers' fat-rich milk and are weaned after four to six weeks.

On the other hand, the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus, meaning "hooked-nosed sea pig") is found on both shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a large seal of the family Phocidae or "true seals". It is the only species classified in the genus Halichoerus. Its name is spelled gray seal in the US; it is also known as Atlantic grey seal and the Horsehead seal.

 It is a large seal, with bulls reaching 8.2–10.8 ft long and weighing 370–680 lb; the cows are much smaller, typically 5.2–6.6 ft long and 220–420 lb in weight. Individuals from the western Atlantic are often much larger, males reaching 880 lb and females weighing up to 550 lb.

I hope now you can distinguished the Grey from the Common seal by its straight head profile, nostrils set well apart, and fewer spots on its body.  Bull Greys have larger noses and a less curved profile than Common seal bulls. Males are generally darker than females, with lighter patches and often scarring around the neck. Females are silver grey to brown with dark patches.

This Grey Seal is sharing these rocks with a Lesser Black backed Gull.

I am still on my journey home and am now on the last leg and have  a little bit of free internet at Heathrow Airport, hence I am able to put on this post which I had in draft.

Thanks you for visiting.

Many thanks for comments you left on any of my posts.


  1. Thanks, Margaret. Very informative and beautiful pictures!

  2. What a sweet face. Great opportunity you had to photograph these wonderful creatures.

  3. Beautiful photos. They have such sad expressions most of the time except for that last one sunning himself. :)

  4. Both are awesome. I love seals. They are so cute and also very much in their own world.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  5. Interesting and informative! Great shots. Safe travels.

  6. Thank you for pointing out the differences in these two wonderful creatures, Margaret. Informative and interesting post. Great photos of the seals!

  7. They are so sweet. and their eyes look so sad, like deep endless wells.

  8. Beautiful things - and so very graceful in their natural element.

  9. The seals are so cute, I love the closeups. Well done, Margaret.

  10. They surely are one of the most adorable animals Margaret. I love your photos .

  11. Beautiful images, well done Margaret.

  12. Nice to see photos and descriptions of these two different seals.

    I look forward to seeing you photos from Africa. :))

  13. We always enjoy watching seals, but have never seen the Atlantic ones. I think the harbor seals always look rather sad to me, but I know I am anthropomorphising.